Water Resilient Cities

Working closely with cities to identify and forecast water challenges and develop science-based and evidence-driven solutions to achieve resilient water outcomes for all.

Home to 17.5% of the global population, India has only about 4% of the total global freshwater resources, stands 13th in the list of 17 “extremely high water stressed” countries in the world (WRI’s Aqueduct 2019) and has 3 times the population of the other 16 countries combined.

India’s first Composite Water Management Index prepared, by NITI Aayog in 2018, concludes that under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario by 2030 water demand will be double the expected supply and economic losses from water crises will be 6% of the GDP by 2050.

Too often, cities in India operate under ill-informed and unsustainable water management and end up facing grave risks from coastal and inland flooding (view our research on urban flooding), scarcity of quality water, loss of biodiversity and access inequalities that threaten people’s livelihoods and urban economic assets. Climate change will exacerbate these risks significantly.


The program focuses on following action tracks to assists cities in becoming low-carbon, livable and resilient global cities.

  • Mainstreaming information on water risks into the planning and delivery of urban services, public investment and infrastructure decision making processes, while strengthening local capacity through multi-stakeholder engagements.
  • Harnessing environmentally sensitive, climate adaptive and socially inclusive solutions in responding to growing urban water risks.
  • Providing strategic support to increase water-resilient investments for adaptation, restoration and conservation initiatives.
  • Supporting ‘proof of concept’ level implementation of innovative water related projects to advance urban resilience.